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Law Enforcement: Maryland Governor Signs Bill Requiring SWAT Team Reporting

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #586)

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Tuesday signed into law a bill that will require law enforcement SWAT teams to regularly report on their activities. The bill was largely a response to a misbegotten drug raid last July in Prince Georges County in which Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and his family were doubly victimized -- first by drug traffickers who used their address for a marijuana delivery, then by Prince Georges County police, who killed the family's two pet dogs and mistreated Calvo and his mother-in-law for several hours.

PolitickerMD cartoon about the raid on the Calvo home
The bill, the SWAT Team Activation and Reporting Act (HB 1267), requires all law enforcement agencies that operate SWAT teams to submit monthly reports on their activities, including when and where they are used, and whether the operations result in arrests, seizures or injuries.

"It is meaningful to us that something good has come out of the terrible tragedy of last summer," Berwyn Heights Mayor Calvo told the Washington Post. "Hopefully, it will be a first step in being able to better police our communities."

The case attracted national outrage and remains politically potent in Prince Georges County, a majority black suburban Washington, DC county that has long suffered from heavy-handed policing. Prince Georges County Sheriff Michael Jackson and the county police have yet to apologize to the Calvos for the raid, although they acknowledge the Calvos were not involved in drug trafficking. The Sheriff's Office investigated itself and unsurprisingly found it had acted appropriately. An FBI probe of the incident may come to different conclusions., publisher of this newsletter, last week released an online video highlighting the Calvo case and calling for SWAT team use to be limited to emergency situations.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

The GREATEST TERRORIST THREAT facing Americans comes not from radical Islamic jihadist factions but rather zealous macho-men with American-flag patches on their Darth Vaderesque uniforms.

I am skeptical that this law will make any difference since it's reporting after the fact and the repressive drug laws remain unchanged

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 3:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Sheriff Michael Jackson is right! They were just trying to do their jobs so there is no need to apologize to the Calvos. It doesn't matter if they were involved in drug trafficking or not - if they didn't want to get raided, they shouldn't have looked so guilty.

- what every pro-drug warrior is thinking as they fall to sleep at night

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 4:09pm Permalink

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